With officials desperately hoping that the eighth time is the charm, they have reported today that they believe the January 12 drone strike against a pair of cars in North Waziristan has killed Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Hakimullah Mehsud.
Readers may remember Hakimullah from the last seven times officials have claimed he was killed, most of them “confirmed kills.” Hakimullah was first slain in August 2009, and slain six addition times between then and February 2010. He appeared in May 2010 to report that despite being killed so many times he was “basically ok.”
As usual, officials cited “intercepted radio communication” in their speculation, because no one ever actually identified any of the victims of the US attacks and they simply hope that they got somebody they meant to get.
And, just as usual, the TTP has already denied the death, with spokesman Asimullah Mehsud saying that Hakimullah wasn’t even in the area where the strike occurred. Indeed the last reports on North Waziristan were that the TTP leadership had agreed to leave the region at the behest of the Bahadur faction, and that they had all moved to South Waziristan, Kurram and Orakzai.